Family volunteering with elephants in Laos
Suitable for children 5+.
Description of Family volunteering with elephants in Laos
On this volunteering holiday, you will all have the opportunity to get to know and understand elephants, their personalities and their histories. What we love the most about this project is that each member of the family will play a vital role in the care and recovery of the rescued elephants. These elephants have been saved from the cruel logging industry, and have been brought to the centre to live a life as close to the wild as possible.
The project is very sociable, and all of the family will play their important part. From monitoring elephant behaviour to creating enrichments , from watching the babies frolic in the nursery to learning all about the plight of elephants, every day will offer different wonders and experiences.
Accommodation and food
Live on-site in Lao-style wooden cabins - the elephants may even pass your window in the morning! You will be sharing bathrooms with western toilets and hot and cold showers with your fellow volunteers. There is a large balcony with lake views, which is a wonderful place to start your day. There is a small bar overlooking the lake, a small play area and hammocks where you can relax with a book or a game.
The centre has an on-site restaurant where you will enjoy three meals per day. Breakfast usually includes fresh bread, eggs, noodle soup and fruit. Lunch and dinner are hot, with a range of soup, rice, noodles, seasonable vegetables, meat and fish.
PlanetThe importance of the project
Lao elephant numbers have been falling dramatically for the last 100 years. For every 10 elephants that die, only two are being born. Just 800 elephants are living in Laos, which is a tragedy for a country that used to be known as the "land of a million elephants". This project aims to increase the numbers of elephants in Laos, and hopefully to reverse this tragic trend.
Elephants are monitored daily by the on-site biology and vet team, as well as the volunteers. This includes their behaviour, social interaction, what they are eating, where they are going and how they are adapting to their new environment. This data allows further understanding of captive elephants that are being rehabilitated - as this is the first project of its kind in Laos, it is leading the way in this and is constantly learning from how the elephants are acting to ensure their best welfare. This information has been shared with other similar projects in Asia, and is enabling elephant welfare to be improved across the continent.
Volunteers are not allowed to ride elephants.
Protecting the world
We are passionate about encouraging our travellers to be kind to the environment as they travel. Each participant receives advice about how to care for the environment whilst they are away. This includes water usage, how to avoid single use plastic, and electricity usage.
We insist that all participants bring their own water bottles when they travel with us, and clean free water is always available. We have even created a water bottle that can be purchased before departure and encourage people to use it at all stages of their journey including at the airport, on flights and whilst on their project. We are striving for all of our projects to be free of single use plastic.
Energy and waste
The centre is powered by solar panels. As much recycling as possible is done each day. All buildings are constructed from local materials and built by local people. Single use plastic is avoided as much as possible.
PeopleMeeting local needs
This project employs mainly local people. There are 400 privately owned elephants in the region, many in poor states of health. The centre works with these elephants and their owners to try to help them to care for their elephants, and they welcome them to use the elephant hospital if care is needed.
We emphasise the importance of showing respect for local people and their customs in our briefing material. Participants will work alongside permanent staff, forming close bonds and getting an insight into real life in rural Laos. Our policy is to send people to the developing world in small groups or individually. This minimises the environmental and social impact that the participants have on the destination and helps them to integrate into the local community.
Campaigning for change
This project works to change the future for animals who have been subjected to harm and mistreatment. The aim is simple: to provide a home for mistreated animals in an environment as close to nature as possible. A programme actively runs to rescue, rehabilitate and release captive wild animals with this hope to repopulate Laos's forests and jungles. An education programme runs for locals, children and visiting tourists to make them aware of the importance of animal welfare.
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